The Ontario Argus. (Ontario, Or.) 1???-1947, August 31, 1922, Image 3

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Wellesloy Hills, Mass., August 2G,
1922 People are not so much In'
torcstod In the temporary settle-
mtnt ot the coal strike and the rail
road strike as In developing plans
bo that they -will not periodically re
occur. It Is not enough to know
that -we shall hare coal this winter
or that railroad traffic 'Is not now
suspended. If the people of this
country are to bo happy, healthy and
prosperous, we must know that some
plan Is being evolved to prevent
these strikes' from re-occuring. In
.view of these facts, Itoger W. Bab
son this was week asked to make a
forecast as to future labor develop
ments. His diagnosis of the strike
situation follews:
"When in Washington during the
war, assisting the Secretary of La
bor, It was evident that the students
of labor problems were divided Into
two. distinct groups; one group be
lieves in compulsory Arbitration as
Illustrated by the Kansas Industrial
Court, andthe other group stands
purely for conciliation without any
compulsion. Conservatives and ra
dicals can be found In both groups.
Investigation leads mo to believe
that there Is a field for both of these
lines of work. Labor disputes In
connection with general industries,
such as the textile industry, the
boot and shoe Industry and possibly
the steel industry, should be kept
on a conciliation basis. It surely
would be a mistake to attempt com
pulsory -arbitration n connection
with these businesses which are op
erated solely for profit. The best
means of avoiding trouble In these
Industries is by keeping these in
dustries in two major labor groups,
one group to be strictly "union"
and the other group strictly "non
union". Let the union group adopt
the closed shop nnd let the other
group be strictly non-union. Then
let the two, groups compete. I do
not mean necessarily in production,
but rather see under which system
the public, the employees' and the
stock-holders, all combined, are
most prosperous. My own guess is
that none" of these three parties
woul long be healthy, happy and
prosperous with all "union" or all
"non-union". When one group se
cures control it becomes Inefficient,
careless and arrogant. My guess Is
that an industry would be most
prosperous and all concerned In it
would be rendering the most ser
vice and be happiest if the industry
wefe equally divided into a union
and non-union field. So much for
general industry. When disputes
ariso, only conciliation should be ap
plied by a third party. There should
be no compulsory settlements In
such cases.
When, however we come to trans
portation, fuel, public utilities such
as water, light and gas, or to the
distribution of milk, bread, etc., we
find a. group of industries to which
compulsory arbitration must be ap
plied. The first two groups to
which such strong-arm methods will
.be applied are the railroads and
coal mines. First let me say that
the railroads and the mine oper
ators are themselves largely to
"blame for present troubles. Altho
the owners of thes properties are
now behaving themselves, they have
not always dono so. Most of Mhe
unwise methods that labor,. leaders
are using today were applied by the
railroads and mine operators twen
ty years ago. Hence these corpor
ations are now only reaping what
they have sown. Nevertheless, two
wrongs do not make a right. Our
nation must have transportation
and fuel at a fair rate and the oper
ation of Us railroad and coal prop
erties must be undisturbed by either
labor leaders or stock market oper
ators. Regarding the railroad situatien:
To secure a fair rate the Interstate
Commerce Commission has been or
ganized, and to secure undisturbed
transportation the railroad labor
board has been created. The first
of these that is, the Interstate
Commerce Commission Is function
ing very -well, and the struggle is
now over the railroad labor board,
At this point Mr. Babson was told
of a strong feeling on the part of
both the railroad managements and
the employees that the railroad
board was not properly made up.
Concerning this, Mr, Babson stated;
"Experience has shown that
boards consisting of three groups
(one group representing capital, one
group representing labor, and one
group representing the public) do
not function well. The group rep
resenting capital vote in one body
for the corporations; the group re
presenting labor vote in one body
for the wage workers; this leaves
the decision to the three men who
represent the public. The problems
involved are too great to permit
leaving the decision to three men
chosen more or loss for political
reasons. To have the railroad la
bor board or any other such board
properly function, five, seven or
nine men should be selected who
represent neither tho corporations
nor the wage workers, but who re
present tho nation. These men
should be paid large salaries, given
dignified positions, appointed either
for life or for long terms and treat
ed like the Supreme Court of the
United States. These men should
gradually build up a code based
upon their rulings seeking the ad
vantage ot no one group, but rather
the welfare of the nation as a whole,
which In tho end would be for the
best Interests of both the owners
and tho wage workers. Tho decis
ions of this board as applying to
transportation, public utltllles and
similar conflicts, should be absolute
and final.
"Railroad owners are now willing
to accept compulsory arbitration,
but the labor leaders are not. Some
claim the labor leaders are afraid
of losing their Jobs, but I do not be
lieve this Is the reason. They ap
pear to bo honest In their belief
that enforcing men to work In a
steel plant which Is operated for
profit may be a form of slavery. If
compulsory arbitration applied to all
industry, we certainly would be re-J
verting to slavery. When, how
ever, It Is applied only to transpor
tation, public utilities, coal mining
and one or two other industries,
thus leaving the great field open,
compulsory arbitration cannot be
called slavery. I say this because
under such conditions any man who
did not wish to work for the rail'
roads, tho public utilities or the coal
operators would be free to 'go Into
competitive industry to which com
pulsory arbitration would not apply.
The labor "leaders state they ar will
ing to accept compulsory arbitration
as best exemplified by the Kan
sas Industrial Court provided the
railroads, public -utilities, coal mines
etc., are operated by tho Govern
ment, not for profit. They illus
trate their case by stating that this
is the reason they are willing to be
drafted for the army, because the
army Is operated by the Government
and not Individuals for profit, and
that this Is why being dratted for
the army Is not a form of slavery.
"This may be alright in theory",
continued Mr. Babson, "but the
public Is in no 'mood at present for
further Government operation. The
results of the war, in connection
with the operation of the railroads,
the building and operation of ships
and the various other interests in
which the Government took a hand,
show that under present conditions
Government operation is expensive,
inefficient and unsatisfactory.
"The public today believes that
'better organization, better dlcipline
'and lower costs come thru private
operation. The public further be
lieves that private operation should
continue so long as the present em
ployees of the railroads, public util
ities, and coal operators aro- 'not
compelled to work for the owners
of these properties but are free to
leave them and work for other peo,-
ple, and so long as there are plenty
of other men available and willing
to work on the railroads, public
utilities and coal mines under a sys
tem of compulsory arbitration.
"In vjew of these facts It seems to
me that the public will not at pres
ent take seriously the claim ot the
labor leaders that compulsory ar
bitration applied even to Industries
operated for profit Is necessarily
slavery. If It were to apply to all
Industries or If there were not a
group ot men perfectly willing to
work on the railroads, public util
ities and coal mines under a system
ot compulsory arbitration, then
there might be some Justice In the
slavery argument. Today, however
railroad men are perfectly free to go
Into other lines of activity for which
no compulsory arbitration Is sug
gested, while hundreds of thous
ands ot men are willing to work for
the railroads, public utilities and
even the coal operators under a
compulsory arbitration system. How
will such a compulsory system be
put In operation in connection with
the railroads, public utilities and
mines? Possibly the people will be
so irritated that Congress will with
one swoop apply the Kansas Indus
trial Court idea to tho railroads,
public utilities and mines. I hope,
however, this wllf not be done. The
need of tho hour Is to have workers
feel right. Wo shall never have
efficiency and a reduction in the
cost of living until thoso engaged
In industry feel right toward their
work. People never feel right when
forced-to do anything against their
better Judgment. Hence my fore
cast is as follews:
"The railroad labor board's rul
ings will not now be made compul
r.ory as to tho present employees, but
they will be compulsory on every
employee who goes to work for the
railroads after a certain 'date. Those
employees who are now at work for
the railroads came on a free, com
petitive basis and bare done faith
A- -
ful work" Although theoretically
they can change to some other Job,
yet practically they cannot. 'They
know the railroad business and this
is all they do know, and It isn't fair
to say they can quit at their pres
ent tlmo of life and enter a new
field ot work. Therefore I say that
unless these present employees will
volumtarlly coma under the compul
sory arbitration 'system they should
be free to continue as at present.
But every additional man hired will
bo hlre.d with tho distinct under
standing that ho will confrom to tho
decisions ot 'the railroad labor
board, as must the stock-holders of
such corporations. This would be
perfectly fair and would bring about
a result which would be gracofully
accepted by all in the course of
time. Under this system It would
take but a few years to bring about
tho desired result, but wo would rap
idly approach it from year to year,
and when adopted It would have the
full co-operation of all concerned.
This is my forecast of the way that
the problem will ultimately bo
worked out. Then there will be no
more strikes on our railroads, nor
in connection with the public util
ities, mines, etc., when the same
method Is extonded to lnolude them
"The Babsonchart continues to
reflect existing conditions with re
markable accuracy. It now stands
S per cent below normal. Wore It
not for the strike situation of the
past few weeks It would be much
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